After focusing all his attention to growing the success of K-array in the Asia-Pacific pro audio market, our President of Sales and Marketing – APAC, Marc Vincent, discusses the challenges and opportunities K-array faces in the region.
When K-array amicably separated from Sennheiser on August 1, 2015, it put the Italian manufacturer in an exciting position to generate new global growth but with an admittedly large gap to fill. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, the German corporate giant covered China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Maldives, Nepal and Mauritius.
With much work to be done for a region that is around half the world’s surface, half the world’s population, the world’s second and third largest economies (Japan and China) and the world’s two most populous countries (China and India), Marc could have easily taken a far more straightforward path to see out his career reaping the rewards of his earlier efforts with Sennheiser.
“That’s not for me,” he counters. “I have never looked back. I am too busy looking to the future. When there is no action, I get bored. And we have a lot to do!”
What benefits have you experienced after focusing solely on APAC?
When I start a project such as this I have bundles of energy and need to consider every opportunity to stimulate a demand. As the business activity increases, the team picks up a similar drive – there is a passion and energy when you have the right team in place. You have to do a lot at first, but if you bring in people who endorse the same beliefs, the combined horsepower takes over and further energy is added as new talent comes on board. My ambition is to get to take things to the point where I am becoming useless while the team is fully functioning.
What distinctive characteristics does the APAC market have in terms of pro audio?
In Asia-Pacific, there is a constant energy here. It is young and flourishing with a direct focus on premium clients. This “fast energy” is very inviting and opens business up to creativity and endless possibilities.
What is the biggest challenge in the APAC pro audio market? The biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge that we face is that while the market is relatively young, there is a certain old-school way of thinking and a lack of understanding. It’s typical for distributors to want to just sell as many boxes given the sheer size of the region while leaving integrators with the task of installing a lot of speakers in ill-suited arrangements that interfere with the performance of the system. We need to break this cycle. With our advanced technology, we need to take a different approach.
It is our responsibility to demonstrate that implementation is just as important as performance. A perfect example would be the Luce Della Vita nightclub in Shanghai. The entire club was the audience area, consisting of a 30 x 26-meter dance floor with almost 10m-high ceilings. The owners, who have several other clubs, were used to hanging dozens of two-way speakers wherever it was convenient to create a large sound. Many would be shooting in the same direction but at different distances creating unintentional delay. It took me 3 months to convince them to use a four-point setup using our Firenze-KH8s. Only two flat panels were hung in each corner and individually angled to cover the entire club. They were blown away with how much sound the system produced using fewer speakers! I demonstrated less is more.
The design was so successful that our dealers emulated that setup in several other top nightclubs creating a standard for these types of venues.
What advantages does K-array have to infiltrate the pro audio market?
We have been very selective when choosing business partners that are ready to invest in K-array products. We simply do not partner with just anyone because they want to invest in the product. They have to have a very good understanding of the technology as well as share the same drive and passion as we have at K-array. However, given the different verticals that our products infiltrate and the market offers, you rarely find one distributor that can successfully cover the entire geographical market. So we have to rely on, not just one, but a network of trusted partners.
Which is why it is crucial to educate and train them and, in turn, the industry on how to use our audio solutions. To teach them and not just to sell them. It’s a matter of understanding the product and its uniqueness.
For example, I have two Vyper-KV50s paired with two Piccolo subwoofers on my terrace. Recently, I had a client come over for cava and after hearing this impressive sound system fully covering over 60 sqm while utilizing very few elements, he signed up to employ K-array in his 15 new restaurants.
“I believe in our innovative qualities and our synergies with other products. K-array is both a great fit and a premium product for APAC. And I look forward to the on-going achievements of our amazing partners and K-array in the region.”